My friend Wendy sent me this video of a group of singers from a church who orchestrated a flash mob singing of Christmas carols at a shopping mall. It’s interesting to see the reactions of the crowd; you can’t tell for sure which people are part of the choir and which are bystanders. While the act might have been offensive to a few, it clearly touched others. There are probably a lot of people who don’t go to church on Christmas, but who still feel some connection to the ancient story of Christ’s birth. The flash mob brought a holy moment into a secular setting.
A wise colleague reminded me this week that Christ is not only the Lord of the Church, but also the Lord of the World. We have so carefully contained our version of “Christ” in our churches that we are hard pressed to recognize or acknowledge his presence anywhere else.
Those of us who struggle with how to maintain our beautiful church buildings may want to reflect on what shape our religious practice might take if we had to practice it out in the world, “in front of God and everybody”. I wonder what it would feel like if we had to gather for Communion in restaurants, or meet at the beach for baptisms, or sing hymns in the mall. Would it change the way we experience our rituals? Would it change the way the “bystander” experienced us?
How is your church visible when you are not in your building? And is it possible that your church might continue to be visible even if some day you don’t have a building anymore?
Thanks for the inspiration, Wendy!